The stereotype of an American family gathering is that someone cries, someone yells, people ignore obvious problems, people are hugely disappointed at various points, there’s a lot of food, and at some point everyone agrees that they love each other a lot.

I wonder if other cultures cultures have stereotypes about family gatherings–or if people perceive the American ones to be different. I also wonder when these stereotypes began to exist. At some point in time, people lived in close geographic units. Moving to America from another country could very well mean never seeing your families again. In Jane Austen stories, people float about England, having family gatherings and solo adventures. I guess the Little House books involved the American Frontier Spirit, and traveling around the US. They had infrequent, if incomplete, visits with family. But still, I think the average was family units in the same space.

1 thought on “Stereotypes

  1. Jane Austen was writing about the gentry. And even then I noted in reading that journeys we’d see as trivial are often treated as major events, with risk of danger to health. More so for the women; the men jut off to London readily enough, but moving a young woman 30 miles often seems like the event of the year. OTOH, they’ll walk three miles to visit their friends readily enough.

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